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Children Of The Corny

Opening credits: "Don't blame me, I voted for Sadler."

Back in The Classroom That Logical Speaking Volume Forgot, the TV-within-a-TV reports that the Congressgal was a Democrat who took her husband's place on the ballot when he died six months before the congressional elections. And because this episode was clearly scribed by a "writer" trained in news journalism by the production template of a particularly juicy episode of Behind the Music, the report takes a turn for the but-it-was-on-a-cold-night-in-New-Haven-that-it-all-started-to-fall-apart-for-Milli-Vanilli kind of turn as easy plot development silences the peering cast: "But all that ended yesterday just outside her home town of Copper Summit, Arizona, where a tragic, single-car accident cut short a life of public service." The kids take the time to be incredulous that the news -- the local news, no less -- should be reporting such misinformation, and only Tess has the wherewithal to posit, "So who's conveniently covering up her death for us?" Isabel makes a too-big deal of noting, "Nasedo said the Skins were among us. Skins, plural." Thanks for the updated style guide from the Federal Bureau of I-Already-Knew-That, Isabel, but haven't we previously ascertained that Courtney's presence in Roswell constitutes the plural? She connects the non-dots to magically come to the conclusion that "maybe other Skins created a fake car accident to keep the Feds from looking too deeply into Whitaker's background." What is she, paraphrasing spoilers? Where did that come from? Tess puts a "help me, Future Max, you're my only hope" hand on Max's shoulder and tries to make talk of skin-shedding freaks at least as sexy as she is (success!), asking, "Max, what do we do?" Michael snarks in the foreground a line I thought was pretty knowing the first time I heard it, "Let me guess, nothing." But really, if Max were any kind of leader, he would have put Michael right back in his Wrong Hand Man position with a retort of the "just because I haven't suggested we skulk around in empty houses searching for answers in mysteriously-unlocked locales overflowing with relevant information, Don Derivative, it doesn't make me a crappy King" variety. Max pauses for a moment; the others regard him before Max formulates his game plan: "Liz." Sigh. Just kidding about that whole "not a crappy King" part.

Over at Whitaker's office, Liz talks on a fake phone, not pausing to wait for an alleged response of any kind in between any of the following sentences: "Yeah, we are in total shock. No, we haven't set a date for the memorial service yet. Yes, I will let you know as soon as we do, of course." Looking up at the rest of the assemblage watching this display, Liz stares back with an "I gotta go, they know it's a fake phone" sheepish glare and hangs up in a big ol' hurry. She huffs a martyred, "The phone has been ringing off the hook for the past hour!" Though as soon as the plot-developing dialogue begins in earnest, it completely stops ringing altogether. Max announces that someone covered up Whitaker's death, and asks Liz if people have been calling the office. Have they been asking questions? Like "Where are the police right now?" or "What about this so-called 'paid staff' of Whitaker's we once heard so much about?" or "How can one glorified secretary field so many calls from a phone whose plug is coiled in a rubber band in a supply closet?" or even "Hey, where are the police right now?" People have been calling, she responds, but Liz has just been telling everyone that the Congressgal is on vacation. Max worries that the Skins already know she's dead and wonders how anyone could know, "unless it came from here." Liz takes this as a veiled accusation of some kind, just so Max and Liz can insert the governmentally-sanctioned doe-eyed stare that must inevitably find its way into every scene featuring the two of them. Tess, all Gal Friday, picks up an envelope off the desk (looks like someone has been taking lessons in Sleuthing Within the Confines of Your Own Peripheral Vision from a certain Mikey G. I might mention here) and notes, "The postmark says Copper Summit. It's from something called the Universal Friendship League." Isabel notes that the name of this organization couldn't "sound any creepier" (it would, if it were called "Scientology"), and Tess makes a big ol' foofaraw about the fact that it's marked "Personal." Ooooooh. "Personal." Dun-DUN-Duuuuuuuuuuuuun. Like every credit card bill and coupon book and brown-paper-wrapped porno mag (er, this happened to a friend of mine) isn't marked with that red rubber stamp that costs $1.99 at your local Staples retailer. There's also one that reads, "Confidential" and another regally advertising, "First Class." Darn good thing the already risky Whitaker didn't supply Ed McMahon with her work address, what with the three-part episode that would have been required when Tess picked up a letter marked "Personal" and fearfully intoned, "Oh my God. Max. It says she may already be a millionaire." Everyone just calm down. They must be all jumpy from the phone, which has been not ringing off the hook for the duration of this sequence.

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